For anyone considering sampling the delights of the Middle East, a good first port of call is either Jordan or Oman, according to one travel writer.
Both countries are said to be relatively friendly and safe, with a warm welcome guaranteed for foreigners, and offer a decent introduction to the region.
But, says Frances Gordon, visitors ought to heed local customs such as dressing in a conservative manner to keep certain parts of the body covered up.
The writer, who is also a photographer, also advises: "If you're planning to visit any mosques or religious buildings, then women should be sure to bring a headscarf with them."
Learning some local phrases always helps, so the Arabic for "thank you" is "shukran" and for a general greeting (meaning literally "peace be upon you"), use "as-salaam alaikum".
A must-see when visiting Jordan is the ancient city of Petra and its capital Amman, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
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